Nino’s Italian Restaurant is a perfect blend of old and new authentic Italian cuisine

190820 N3260 919
Carbonara with pancetta, onions, peas, Alfredo fettuccine topped with a poached egg. (Photography: Lynn Margalit)

By Laura Briedis

My favorite Italian dish is Veal Marsala, but sometimes I am hesitant to order it when dining out as some restaurants make it a bit too sweet. But at Nino’s Italian Restaurant, it is perfect.

“The secret is in the wine,” says Tom Barber, who, along with his brother, Anthony, opened this charming trattoria in North Ridgeville 29 years ago. “We use Marsala wine that is imported from Sicily.”

“We also import Romano cheese wheels from the Reggio region of Italy and grate the cheese daily in house, as well as import our pasta noodles for an authentic Italian dining experience,” he adds.

“It’s all about using the highest quality and freshest ingredients,” says Loretta Valenti Flasher, who is Tom’s niece and business partner.

In business for three decades, Nino’s Italian Restaurant has a contingent of faithful regulars who come from all over Northeast Ohio to savor the delectable Italian cuisine.

“Everything we make—from our whipped butter mixed with garlic and parsley (and two secret ingredients) to our homemade Italian dressing made with fresh-pressed olive oil to our marinara and alfredo sauces—is a feast reminiscent of Sunday dinners at grandma’s.”

In business for three decades, the family-owned restaurant has a contingent of faithful regulars who come from all over Northeast Ohio to savor the delectable Italian cuisine.

Three Generations in the Kitchen
Like at any good Italian restaurant, the menu features recipes that have been passed down through generations. At Nino’s, the tomato-based sauce simmers for hours the way Nana cooked it in Calabria, Italy.

An-To-Ninos features homemade Italian sausage, hot and green peppers, mushrooms and Marinara linguini.

Today, all the pasta dishes and pizzas are made to order by Nana’s great-grandson, Dustin, who has been working at the restaurant since he was 14 years old and is now the head chef.

“I call myself old school, Loretta middle school and her son, Dustin, new school,” smiles Tom, who is a first-generation American.

“All our dishes are based on family recipes that have not changed over the years, like our Italian Wedding Soup and our signature Spaghetti and Meatballs. Our chef does not stray from the original recipes, but has an opportunity to show his culinary creativity with dining specials that change weekly.”

Margarita and Deluxe Pizzas

Standout dishes include Blue Heaven, which is spaghetti and alfredo sauce topped with tomatoes, black olives, onions and bleu cheese; the Chicken Picatta with capers, white wine, scallions and lemon; and Seafood pizza topped with scallops, shrimp and lobster. “We have gluten-free pizza dough and vegan cheese options for those with dietary restrictions,” says Loretta.

Indulge in Italian Libations
Complementing the Italian specialties is a well-curated wine list.

“In addition to Italian wines, we feature vineyards from around the world that you will not find in stores,” notes Loretta. “And with our Cork & Carry program, you can bring home your bottle if you don’t finish it with dinner.”

“We also are known for our Limoncello cocktail, which is crafted from lemons soaked in vodka for eight weeks,” she adds.

Save Room for Dessert
The desserts at Nino’s are not an afterthought, but the perfect complement to your meal. The to-die-for order is the White Chocolate Cheesecake, a recipe from Aunt Carmy that is made with chocolate imported from France. And Nana’s homemade bread pudding is another family favorite.

True to its Italian roots, you will also find tiramisu, cannoli and sorbet on the dessert menu.

“Come hungry because the portions are huge,” says Tom. “We get to know every customer who walks through our door and welcome them to our family restaurant.”

Nino’s Italian Restaurant is located at 32652 Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville. Hours are Tuesday, 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 4:00 to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. For carryout orders or dining reservations for groups of six or more, call 440-353-9580. Check out for details.

Categories: Westside Food & Dining